As expected, the weather in Virginia got warm, and by mid June we had day temperatures in the high 80s, with 90% humidity. In the meantime, Ted got busy on Amazon, ordering supplies and parts. Michelle and I walked 3 miles each morning at 7.30am, which was a lovely start to the
day, particularly as it wasn’t yet too hot for morning exercise.
We were joined by several other Nordhavns over the next few weeks. N59 Karma was here for all of July, visiting with family in the area. N55 Solway Coast (used to be Vamos) stopped in for a couple of weeks, and N55 Mermaid Monster passed through on their way north. N47 Paragon who we met at New Bern, also stopped for a week or so.
We took our Rocna anchor off the boat, with help from Capt. Aubrey who manages the 78 Marlow berthed next to us. He offered the use of his dinghy crane to lift the anchor, and he, Ted and Clark got the anchor down onto the dock, into a cart and loaded up into a rental car to take it up to Richmond for re-galvanising. We picked it up a few days later and it looks like new!
One of the major and most important jobs of the summer was the replacement of one of the main salons air conditioning units. The port side 12,000 btu unit’s compressor failed and we installed a new Webasto 13,000 BTU unit.
Roam, Karma, Paragon and Southern Star took a short trip north to Mobjack Bay and spent July 4th weekend anchored up the East River. Several of the private homes on the water put on fireworks, and the four of us plus a couple on a Kadey Krogen did a dinghy raft up where we tied up to each other and drifted up and down the river with our drinks. By the time Roam and SS returned to York River after the holiday weekend, the pool was finally open, coinciding with temperatures going into the nineties.
Our good friends Dee and Jerry on N68 Grace of Tides made a stop on their way up to Maine, and it was lovely to spend time with both of them again. We have caught up with Jerry the last few times we’ve passed through Morehead City but have always missed seeing Dee. She joined Michelle and I on our walks, and we shared several evenings together. We were sad to see them move on. N55 April K also arrived in preparation for moving off their boat and heading back to Florida, and awaiting the new owners who have upgraded from N47 Epoch.
Ted’s projects continued through July, but on 31st we left the dock and ran north for a long day up to the Potomac River where we anchored in our usual spot up St Mary’s River, before continuing the next day to Calvert Marina at Solomons where we spent time with two sets of good friends – James and Darlene on their Selene, and Bob and Stephanie who we had lots of fun with last year at Solomons, as they are fanatic New England Patriots supporters. So we had drinks with James and Darlene, then dinner with Bob and Stephanie and their friend Bern.
The next day, we made the short run on to Herrington Harbour North, where we had scheduled work for our generator and wing engine, and hoped to get some canvas work done as well. However our arrival there was a day before the remnants of Hurricane Isaias was due to sweep up the Chesapeake bringing winds of up to 50 knots. We had the engineers on board briefly on the Monday morning, but by lunchtime I’d secured a spot at another marina which would be much more protected for the predicted weather. Having endured 25 knots on the T head at Herrington, we didn’t want to be there for anything over 30 knots. So we moved about 20 miles north, to Chesapeake Harbour Marina, where we had stayed two years before with Kya. It is completely enclosed by townhouses, and we knew we would be much safer there. It was the right call, as when the worst of the storm passed by us, we only saw 22knots briefly, but were in touch with Roam at York River who saw 55kn, and Jerry and Dee at anchor who saw similar strength winds.
We connected with Rob and Becky from SV Manatee, and spent a lovely evening with them at the outdoor restaurant at the marina. The next day we returned to Herrington for the work to commence. We also accepted a quote for redoing our Stidd helm chairs and sofa upholstery on our flybridge, and will need to return to get that fitted in a few weeks time.
We left Herrington a week later, returning to Solomons for another evening with Bob and Stephanie, then a night at a lovely anchorage at Fishing Bay just south of Deltaville, then back to York River, arriving back in our same slip exactly two weeks after we left.
The temperatures dropped slightly, and we decided to take advantage of having the wide dock on the T head to cut and polish our hull. We had done some of the white topsides while in lockdown in Georgetown, but the grey hull really needed some attention. So we took four half days to do the starboard side, which is usually against the dock, then turned the boat around to do the port side. This meant getting on and off the boat via the swim platform as we don’t have a boarding gate on our port side. Another four days doing the side and the transom, and another weekend to recover, before we start the white topsides on the port side. Given we are polishing 16 year old gelcoat, we are happy with the results.
This season continues to feel very strange. Despite having many friends passing through the marina, our socializing has been limited and low key. We are all of an age where we are very Covid conscious. This has meant gathering in smaller groups, mostly outside, and we have eaten out far less than we usually do when in the US over the summer.
Michelle and I went shopping a few times when we first arrived here in June. Shops were empty (of people and inventory), and signs of struggling retail are everywhere. And of course, you can’t try anything on, so shopping isn’t fun anymore.
And our future plans are just as uncertain. We do know that we are in the middle of an active hurricane season, with the remnants of Hurricane Laura passing over us today. The height of the season isn’t till September, so we have committed to another month here at York River. But then we need to think about heading south, as my US visa expires on 6th November. We may try to get to Brunswick Georgia, and see the officer there again in the hope he will grant an extension as there does seem to have been some change in the approach by Homeland Security because of Covid.
We are also exploring costs and logistics of shipping Southern Star back to NZ. While our original dream was always to take her back on her own bottom, this is increasingly problematic with Covid closures, and other challenges arising in the South Pacific. We could sell Southern Star in the US but we both agree this would be a final option, and are hopeful that one of the freight companies will come up with a quote that is realistic and will enable us to make some decisions and move forward.
It’s been a long hot summer. We are happy to have decided to spend it at York River Yacht Haven. We’ve battled with the jelly fish invasion, having to clear the air conditioning cooling system sea strainer up to 3 times a day. This involves suiting up with protective clothing, so as not to get stung, and finding the pick up through hull in dirty hot water with 8” visibility.
Paul, on April K came by one morning and we were chatting outside, when the ac cooling discharge stream stopped. The AC shut down. Paul offered to lend me his airbrush compressor to back flush the cooling lines with air, rather than dock water. It worked amazingly, and I purchased a medium size air compressor and set it up for jelly fish blasting. The air expands rapidly and the jellyfish are blown off the through hull on the outside of the boat. Needless to say, the jelly fish invasion stooped soon there after, as water salinity decreased with rain.
We have stayed busy doing boat chores, and seeing friends only in the outdoors.
The pool at the marina has been a godsend for us, as we do some hard work, eg polishing in the morning and head to the pool to cool off in the afternoon.
We watch in horror the news headlines, watching the shambles of the state of the world. Covid dominates everything we do. Our plans are no firmer than they were three months ago. We have riots and heavy handed police response, creating more havoc. We have wildfires out of control on the west coast. We have huge family rifts over politics.
And so we focus on the day to day routines. The boat is looking great with a fresh polish and wax. We’ve repainted the fly bridge helm chairs, got the generator work completed, the wing engine engine mounts replaced.
Football season started yesterday, and we signed up to Fubotv, for internet TV to catch the games.
I miss normality, sometimes I feel depressed by the state of things. But then I think that we are pretty lucky to be together, to be self contained and still loving the lifestyle.
As Jenny mentioned, we are looking at various options for the future, and are now leaning toward shipping Southern Star home.
I feel extremely disappointed if we have to miss the trip to New Zealand. It’s just too far to be a ‘delivery.’ If we cannot enjoy the journey, can’t visit villages in the pacific islands, move amongst the locals, then what’s the point? We’ll enjoy the South Pacific from our home in NZ.